By RACHEL LOUGHMAN
PETALUMA HIGH SCHOOL, SENIOR, 18

The inherent eagerness to grow up is never surprising. Everyone believes they are capable of so much more than high school allows. But whether one is ready for the trials of adulthood is another matter entirely.
Graduating high school does not make you an adult. It does not necessarily make you more mature, or more capable. It makes you a teenager, without the schedule of high school, still dependent on parents and not ready to take on the world.
High school is a four-year process that is laid out to conform to the changes, ages and phases of teenagers’ lives. To rush that process is cheating oneself out of quintessential experiences. Life and high school take work from start to finish. It takes dedication and drive.
The study skills and ambition taught in high school are put in place to enhance future success. If teenagers cannot stick out four years of high school, they are creating a pattern of taking the easy way out or leaving before they are truly finished. This is not behavior that leads to success. High school is similar to a career: You come every day, try your hardest and are rewarded for your successes.
It is the closest thing to a trial run that one will ever receive. To skip the trial run and begin the actual game is an unnecessary gamble. To lose would have devastating results.
It is commonly thought that graduating early will allow one to have a head start on college and, in turn, the rest of one’s life. This idea is true only in reference to Santa Rosa Junior College. If a student graduates in December and starts taking more than three classes at SRJC with the intent to transfer the next fall, they would be considered a transfer student and would have to receive an AA degree before they are able to transfer. To complete at AA degree takes an average of two years.
Students who believe graduating early will cut their time at home in half are sadly mistaken. For some who are eager to start college, graduating early will hinder the plan to go directly to a four-year university. There is nothing wrong with wanting to start one’s adult life early, but there is something wrong with taking the easy way out.
Graduating early is essentially doing just that. Although the credits needed to graduate will need to be made up at SRJC, online or in other ways, the time and effort put into graduating early could be redirected to the study habits of high school. Success is attainable, and staying in high school is the direct route.